In the car today on the way to school I had the local classical station on the radio. They started slipping the occasional Christmas song into rotation on Dec 1, every five pieces or so. It was a string arrangement of a carol, and I started singing along. Sparky said, â€œI donâ€™t know this one. I donâ€™t know a lot of Christmas songs, Mama.â€ And heâ€™s right. Mainly because I worked in retail for about fifteen years and developed a violent aversion to Christmas music that way, but also because Iâ€™m an admitted music snob and I dislike most â€œpopularâ€ versions of carols, preferring instrumental arrangements.
Now, every year we get together with a family of dear friends (weâ€™re godparents to their girls, theyâ€™re Sparkyâ€™s godparents) and we have an intimate Yule singalong. I play the cello, Jeff plays guitar, the kids play bells or bodhrans, and if weâ€™re lucky Pasley plays one of her recorders for a song or two (and I wish sheâ€™d play it more often, because it’s a beautiful sound, and yes Paze, I am talking to YOU) and we sing all sorts of stuff, from really old ones to some popular Christmas songs the kids know well, like Frosty and so forth. But every year, Sparkyâ€™s stumped by the more classic ones I used to sing in church as a kid.
So today, I find myself in the slightly odd position of developing a Christmas music playlist so he can hear the songs and learn them. I donâ€™t have many recordings (see above about my snobby tastes and violent dislikes), so Iâ€™m digging through what I do have to find what I can put together. I may have to record myself singing some to fill out the playlist, which is a frightening thought.
And as every year, I find myself wanting to do something to decorate the house for the season, but coming up with a blank. Pinterest has me wanting to string pine cones on red ribbon and hanging them from found branches above the windows — so simple! — but really? And where would I find the time? And can you even get pine cones that aren’t drenched in cinnamon oil? (Hmm, this would be the perfect excuse to finally check out the new Michaels.) Candles we do all year round, so adding more seems pointless. HRH hung the Christmas lights along the peak and eaves of the house this past weekend, and they look wonderful, but that’s a night-time thing (and even that has me uncomfortable because it’s so early in December and there’s no snow again). And we don’t buy the tree and decorate it till Solstice, so that we can enjoy it during Christmas week without it drying out and having to be taken down right after the 25th. The boughs and swag for the front door don’t happen till the week before Christmas, because they’re fresh, too. I need to think some more about what we can do that is baby-friendly, works with our decor and layout, and isn’t expensive or overly time-consuming.
Part of the problem, I think, is that we have one box of Christmas stuff in the shed, and we take it out when the tree arrives, so I don’t have lead time on the non-tree decorations. Maybe we should separate them into two boxes, one marked ‘early Christmas’ and one marked ‘immediate Christmas.’ Because, you know, that would be intelligent and foresighted, two things that do not characterize my state of mind when we pack everything away in early January.